The Ruma nickel-cobalt project in Papua New Guinea (COURTESY OF MCC)
Throughout the ages, mining has been a basic industry underpinning economic development by supplying mineral raw materials. Competing in the global resource markets and participating in the reallocation of resources are necessary to ensure long-term national economic security and development.
As the largest and most competent metallurgical construction contractor and company operation service provider, the Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd. (MCC) has committed itself to exploring overseas markets since 2006 by exploiting synergy and unleashing potential to enhance efficiency. Consequently, the group's mining business has turned losses into gains and won broad recognition in the industry.
From January to September this year, the Saindak project in Pakistan generated 10,052 tons of blister copper and registered sales of 9,937 tons, with the recovery ratio of metal and profits hitting 89.33 percent and $13.78 million respectively; the Duddar project, also in Pakistan, produced 28,153 tons of zinc ore concentrate and 3,703 tons of lead ore concentrate, and sold 28,445 tons of zinc ore concentrate and 3,651 tons of lead ore concentrate, harvesting profits of $6.4 million. The Ruma project in Papua New Guinea produced 3,032 tons of nickel in September, completing 109.5 percent of its monthly output goal, with the recovery ratio of metal reaching 89.25 percent, and realizing a monthly profit of 6.66 million yuan ($1 million).
Targeting the exploitation of metal mineral products and scare resources both domestically and overseas, MCC has devoted itself to coordinating the value chain and intensifying its comprehensive technological strength—encompassing mining, mineral processing and smelting—in order to provide a reliable guarantee for the healthy and sustainable development of the national economy.
So far, MCC has invested in and operated six metal resource projects in five countries, with the outputs of copper, nickel, lead and zinc, cobalts, and scandium standing at 11.08 million tons, 1.44 million tons, 1.13 million tons, 144,000 tons and 2,000 tons, respectively.
On December 8, 2015, MCC merged with China Minmetals Corp., and the combined company embarked on a new journey to build a world leading mining giant.
The Ruma nickel-cobalt project in Papua New Guinea, which boasts 143 million tons of reserves, is the largest metal mineral resource project in which Chinese enterprises have ever invested in the South Pacific region. MCC constructed the project and put it into operation within just five years, setting a record for the shortest construction period and lowest investment among projects of its kind. This year, it has exceeded its monthly production goal by 14 percent, setting a record high by virtue of refined operation and management capabilities.
Aside from applying the concepts of being sensitive to problems, maintaining market insight, lowering costs and improving efficiency in every link of production and operation, MCC has made efforts to enable the enthusiasm and creativity of its staff to play a larger role in the company's activities. From January to September, the Ruma project produced 25,505 tons of nickel, accounting for 77.3 percent of the output planned for the whole year. The actual full-year output is predicted to reach 34,555 tons, 6 percent more than the original full-year goal. Moreover, the project saw a monthly profit growth for the first time this September, marking a turning point in its operation.
Built by MCC, the Saindak copper-gold project once had to halt production due to poor management and operation by Pakistanis. MCC obtained the operating lease in 2001, and since then, it has focused on improving quality and efficiency, constantly strengthening production management, and ensuring the stable and balanced operation of the production system. By the end of June, 1.03 million tons of copper concentrate ore and 225,413 tons of blister copper had been produced, with profits amounting to 3.96 billion yuan ($596.42 million). The project employs a total of 1,436 Pakistanis, greatly promoting the development of the local economy.
In addition, cross-border mining cooperation is proceeding in the Duddar zinc-lead mine project in Pakistan and the Aynak copper project in Afghanistan.
Looking back at the path travelled by MCC, one can find the company has attached equal importance to economic and social benefits, and much has been done to boost the development of local people and economies.
Since the Saindak copper-gold project in Pakistan began 15 years ago, MCC has been committed to supplying its five neighboring villages, populated by roughly 2,000 local people, with safe drinking water for free and dug a well for each village to further guarantee their daily water needs could be met. At the same time, the company installed power transmission facilities, completely free of charge, to bring power to six nearby villages, and plans to make solar power generation available for a remote and very underdeveloped village.
The project has also sponsored the construction and operation of a hospital, which provides local people with free medical services. Every year, more than 6,000 people undergo a free health examination and receive free treatment at the hospital, which has spent $800,000 in acquiring advanced equipment in order to improve the quality of its medical services. Beyond that, the company set up the Saindak primary school, which subsequently expanded with the addition of a secondary school, allowing more than 600 local children to receive free education. As part of the initiative, MCC established a digital library and provided scholarships to enable poor students to receive further education in China.
MCC also spared no efforts to integrate with local communities. After a fierce rainstorm devastated a village near the Ruma project in Papua New Guinea, local residents turned for help to MCC company staff, who responded immediately by sending rescue teams to the scene to engage in disaster relief.
In 2010, when mining activity began in the Aynak copper project in Afghanistan, workers discovered a Buddhist temple built 2,600 years ago along the ancient Silk Road. MCC promptly called a halt to the project and worked closely with 123 archaeologists to excavate the site. A large number of precious cultural relics and antiques were unearthed, enough to refill the country's national museum. MCC's actions were widely acclaimed by the local government and people. When Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani visited China in October 2014, China and Afghanistan made it clear that the two nations were willing to push forward the Aynak project through friendly negotiation, laying a political foundation for such mining activities in the future.